Donal Kelleher is 50 years involved in BallyphehaneCommunity Centre and Kilreen Celtic FC

Donal Kelleher is 50 years involved in BallyphehaneCommunity Centre and Kilreen Celtic FC

Donal Kelleher from Ballyphehane enjoying a walk at Haulbowline Island Amentity park. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

A New Year brings new beginnings and new challenges.

He celebrated Ballyphehane Community centre’s 50th anniversary and was proud to do so as a man who was part of their organisation from the very beginning. 

From humble beginnings fifty years ago Ballyphehane Community Centre has grown to become an integral part of the community for all age groups. 

The centre provides Recreational facilities for the elderly, youth, handicapped and disadvantaged, Training courses, Cultural activities, Meeting rooms for local charitable organisations. 

It offers a wide and diverse service which includes Meals on Wheels, Adult Day Care, Bingo, Café, gym, and meeting room facilities. 

Over 500 people visit the centre on a weekly basis and up to 50 meals are delivered daily in the Ballyphehane and Turner's Cross areas. 

And one man who has seen the Community centre go from strength to strength is Donal Kelleher.

Most known for his dedication and commitment to Kilreen Football club, Kelleher has dedicated most of his life to the community of Ballyphehane and while he recently took a break, he is hoping to get back involved in the New Year. 

Here he tells us about his involvement and how great a service the community centre is to the local people.

“I was very proud to be part of the Centre for 50 years at Committee level,” said Kelleher. 

"It’s also a centre that my Club Kilreen Celtic use for Training and Meetings, and I met a lot of great people there and learned a lot from them. It certainly was a huge part of my life.

John Cahill, Donal Kelleher, jake McAuliffe, and Liam Ó h-Uigín, Ballyphehane Meals on Wheels, pictured at the HSE Meals on Wheels Volunteers celebration and recognition event, as part of which, the “Beyonnd Nutrition” research report was launched, at the Oriel House Hotel, Ballincollig, Cork
John Cahill, Donal Kelleher, jake McAuliffe, and Liam Ó h-Uigín, Ballyphehane Meals on Wheels, pictured at the HSE Meals on Wheels Volunteers celebration and recognition event, as part of which, the “Beyonnd Nutrition” research report was launched, at the Oriel House Hotel, Ballincollig, Cork

“I was on the Committee up until 1998 and then I became an employee from 2000 as assistant Manager until I retired in 2019 but I have stayed on Part-time looking after Meals on Wheels and I really enjoy delivering Meals On Wheels because you get to meet lovely people in the Parish.

“Sport is very important for the Centre as we have a lot of clubs in the parish and also clubs outside the parish who would use the centre for training and meetings and when clubs were playing away matches they would make the centre their meeting point. 

"The Community Centre Management are always helpful to all Clubs and we thank them for that. It was the place to be for Clubs and all the Clubs love to train in the sports Hall especially in the winter time.

“The centre was used for many different codes, Soccer, Basketball, TAG Rugby clubs as well as Schools in the parish for various sports, the over 50s, Club Ogra Chorcai, Dancing Classes, Ladies Clubs, Day Care Centre, Bowling, Gym and a lot more classes during the day, it makes a big impact because they have a place to go each day and enjoy themselves and meet new friends. 

"Bingo on Wednesday and Friday nights drew a massive crowd which was great to see.

“During my time a lot of work was done during the 50 years. A new extension was put on to the centre for new dressing rooms and a new Gym Bull and Fiddle, New Offices Toilets, Welfare Room and meeting rooms which was great for the people of the parish.

“It was hard for me to retire because I was on the go all the time but the centre asked to stay on part time to look after meals on wheels, but my time there was fantastic. 

"Meeting new and old people every day it was a dream job to be involved in and some great names passed through the door down through the years and that's why I loved the place.

“I now occupy my time by delivering Meals On Wheels while still involved with Kilreen schoolboys league and SFAI, I walk a lot and love meeting people, and still love the Community Centre.

“I am still involved with Kilreen but not as much at the moment but hope to get back sooner rather than later as I was Chairman for most of the 50 years but I took a step back from Chairman a year ago due to Health but am doing very well now and hope to get back to full strength in the next few Months. 

"2023 will hopefully be another great year with plenty of progression in everything we do.”

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